Wallingford funeral home now offering Harley-Davidson hearse 

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WALLINGFORD — As a way to make the farewell to a loved one more unique, B.C. Bailey Funeral Home is now offering a Harley-Davidson hearse. 

“I just want to give people a chance to have a memorable experience and have a different creative way to honor their loved ones’ lives,” said Matthew Bailey, B.C. Bailey president and fourth generation funeral director. “It’s just another resource that we have available to our community...” 

Bailey has colleagues from different parts of the country that have received positive feedback about a Harley Davidson hearse. 

“I think we’re always just trying to find different ways to help contemporary families,” Bailey said. “More people are consistently, I think, trying to share their loved ones’ stories in new and unique ways.”

Bailey, who has been trying to acquire a Harley-Davidson hearse for many years, was able to buy one from a man in Ohio. 

“This one was previously owned. It was built for a funeral home based in Arizona,” Bailey said. “They ended up selling it to a gentleman in Ohio who wanted to do it for his retirement job. He was going to rent it out and offer it to funeral homes across Ohio and drive around and provide the service. He ended up finding an additional retirement job that didn’t let him really do it anymore, so instead of keeping it in his garage, he attempted to sell it. Through another funeral director, it was brought to my attention.”

B.C. Bailey is offering the unique hearse at the same price of a traditional Cadillac hearse, which is $375.

“Whether or not they’re Harley people or motorcycle people, just to be able to have that special farewell,”said Jayson Dahlgard, B.C. Bailey funeral director. 

Funeral directors aim to make a funeral a personal experience and the Harley-Davidson hearse is just another way B.C. Bailey can do that.  

“We truly say there are no two funerals exactly alike because there are so many ways that families can work with funeral directors to make the funeral or the memorial, the sendoff something that’s unique to the individual who died,” said Laura Soll, communications director of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association. “… Personalization, making it very special, obviously, that’s the case what Bailey is going to be doing.” 

Personalizing a funeral is a way that families can celebrate the life of their loved one in a meaningful way and having a unique hearse is just one way to help with that.  

“There are a lot of different personalization options that funeral directors help families think of to better have the service speak of their life than just a generic car,” said Edward Sheehy, Jr., CFSP, CPC, CCO and president of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association. “That’s what everybody tries to do in today’s world. They try to help families really personalize the entire funeral. From the hearse to the casket to the urn to the flowers and pictures. There’s a lot of personalization so the funeral is not like a generic funeral, but more of a funeral about the life that the deceased lived.” 

Krause Funeral Homes in Milwaukee, WI acquired its Harley-Davidson hearse in 2007 and Mark Krause, president and funeral director, has noticed that it gained a lot of attention from non- motorcycle enthusiasts. 

“It’s kind of amazing the people that have the desire to utilize the motorcycle hearse,” Krause said. “I've found that about half of the people that want to use it aren’t even motorcycle people. What it does is that it’s a modern horse drawn hearse with a modern hearse. You can’t take horses up and down your city streets like in the old days. So the motorcycle actually is a better utilization of that.” 

B.C. Bailey’s hearse, parked in front of the South Elm Street funeral home, has already drawn a lot of attention.

“I mean cars are coming by all day long and stopping and taking pictures,” Dahlgard said. 

As a way to personalize an individual’s funeral, the Harley-Davidson hearse will be a way to help bring comfort to those attending the ceremony. 

“It gives the family comfort knowing that this funeral was about their loved one … it’s really geared around the life that individual lived,” Sheehy said. “… It gives the people attending comfort knowing that the funeral is about their friend. It definitely gives the family comfort because the funeral is really about their loved one and as sad as funerals are, it gives them a little bit of comfort and to say good-bye to their loved one in the unique way you’re able to do that.” 

jsimms@record-journal.com203-317-2208Twitter: @jessica_simms99


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